| Crested wood partridge |
Partridges are medium sized non-migratory gamebirds, with a wide native distribution throughout the Old World, including Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. They are sometimes grouped in the Perdicinae subfamily of the Phasianidae (pheasants, quail, etc.). However, molecular research suggests that partridges are not a distinct taxon within the family Phasianidae, but that some species are closer to the pheasants, while others are closer to the junglefowls.
These are medium-sized birds, intermediate between the larger pheasants and the smaller quails. Partridges are native to the grassy steppes of Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Nowadays they are often found nesting on agricultural land. They nest on the ground and have a diet consisting of seeds and insects. Species such as the grey partridge and the red-legged partridge are popular as game birds, and are often reared in captivity and released for the purpose of hunting. For the same reason, they have been introduced into large areas of North America.
According to Greek legend, the first partridge appeared when Daedalus threw his nephew, Perdix, off the sacred hill of Athena in a fit of jealous rage. Supposedly mindful of his fall, the bird does not build its nest in the trees, nor take lofty flights and avoids high places.
The most famous reference to the partridge is the first gift listed in the Christmas carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas". As such, "A partridge in a pear tree" is sung as the last line of each verse. Since partridges are unlikely to be seen in pear-trees (they are ground-nesting birds) the text "in a pear tree" may be a corruption of the French "une perdrix".
The partridge has also been used as a symbol that represents Kurdish nationalism. It is called Kew. Sherko Kurmanj discusses the paradox of symbols in Iraq as an attempt to make a distinction between the Kurds and the Arabs. He says that while Iraqis generally regards the palm tree, falcon, and sword as their national symbols, the Kurds consider the Oak, Partridge, and dagger as theirs.
Species list in taxonomic order
- Genus Lerwa
- Snow partridge, Lerwa lerwa
- Genus Tetraophasis
- Genus Alectoris
- Genus Ammoperdix
- Genus Perdix
- Genus Rhizothera
- Genus Margaroperdix
- Madagascar partridge, Margaroperdix madagascarensis
- Genus Melanoperdix
- Black wood-partridge, Melanoperdix nigra
- Genus Xenoperdix
- Genus Arborophila, the hill partridges
- Hill partridge, Arborophila torqueola
- Sichuan partridge, Arborophila rufipectus
- Chestnut-breasted partridge, Arborophila mandellii
- White-necklaced partridge, Arborophila gingica
- Rufous-throated partridge, Arborophila rufogularis
- White-cheeked partridge, Arborophila atrogularis
- Taiwan partridge, Arborophila crudigularis
- Hainan partridge, Arborophila ardens
- Chestnut-bellied partridge, Arborophila javanica
- Grey-breasted partridge, Arborophila orientalis
- Bar-backed partridge, Arborophila brunneopectus
- Orange-necked partridge, Arborophila davidi
- Chestnut-headed partridge, Arborophila cambodiana
- Red-breasted partridge, Arborophila hyperythra
- Red-billed partridge, Arborophila rubrirostris
- Scaly-breasted partridge, Arborophila chloropus
- Chestnut-necklaced partridge, Arborophila charltonii
- Sumatran partridge, Arborophila sumatrana
- Vietnam partridge, Arborophila merlini
- Genus Caloperdix
- Ferruginous partridge, Caloperdix oculea
- Genus Haematortyx
- Crimson-headed partridge, Haematortyx sanguiniceps
- Genus Rollulus
- Crested partridge, Rollulus roulroul
- Genus Bambusicola
- "Molecular phylogenetics and evolution: A molecular phylogeny of the pheasants and partridges". Science Direct. Retrieved 2015-12-25.
- Holmes, Richard (2013). Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air. HarperCollins. p. 1760. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- The Associated Press (November 26, 2012). "'12 days of Christmas' cost: How much is a partridge in a pear tree?". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
- Kurmanj, Sherko (2014). "The Roots of Modern Kurdish Nationalism". In Bengio, Ofra. Kurdish Awakening: Nation Building in a Fragmented Homeland. University of Texas Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-292-75813-1.
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